Avoiding handover fumbles: a controlled trial of a structured handover tool versus traditional handover methods.
BMJ Qual Saf. 2012 Nov;21(11):925-32
Authors: Payne CE, Stein JM, Leong T, Dressler DD
BACKGROUND: Handover of patient information represents a critical time period during a patient's hospitalisation. While recent guidelines promote standardised communication during these patient care transitions, significant variability in structure and practice persists among hospitals and providers.
METHODS: The authors surveyed internal medicine residents regarding handover practices before and after introduction of a structured, web-based handover application. The handover application standardised patient data in a format suitable for both patient handovers and day-to-day patient management.
RESULTS: A total of 80 residents were surveyed prior to the intervention (80% response rate) and 161 residents during the intervention (average 68% response rate for all surveys distributed). At baseline, residents perceived deficits in handover practices related to the variability of information transferred and correlated that variability to near-miss events. After introduction of the handover application, 100% of handovers contained an updated problem list, active medications, and code status (compared to <55% at baseline, p<0.01); residents perceived approximately half as many near-miss events on call (31.5% vs 55%; p=0.0341) and were twice as likely to respond that they were confident or very confident in their patient handovers compared to traditional practices (93% vs 49%; p=0.01).
CONCLUSION: Standardisation of information transmitted during patient handovers through the use of a structured, web-based application led to consistent transfer of vital patient information and was associated with improved resident confidence and fewer perceived near-miss events on call.
PMID: 22706931 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]